Thursday, February 27, 2014

My Own Illustrated Bible

Oh, oh, oh.  I LOVE the illustrations my boys put in their Bible Journals as we learn Bible History and do our devotions. I just HAVE to share. And yes, I only expect my mom to fully appreciate these (because of how well she knows the artist)... but... c'mon... how adorable! These pictures make my day EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

A tour through Aram's (age 8) Bible Journal--not necessarily in order:

The look on the cow's face?  Caption this! 

The wedding at Cana--love the top hat on the Master of the Feast. "Yuuuum!" Oh yeah... this is the best wine he's ever tasted.

This is John the Baptist. How can you tell? Well, he lived in the wilderness--obvious, by the view out his window. And see that bee? He wants his honey back. And that juice is to wash down those locusts.

Insert Elon's (age 5) drawing of the same lesson... where John more resembles "Bigfoot." Elon currently draws people wearing jumpsuits--and a jumpsuit of camel hair?  Yep. Sasquatch.
The Baptism of Christ: Well, I don't know what happened with Jesus'  terrorist-like face, but love that dove descending from heaven in the beam of light, and love those sandals, and the purple one-piece long underwear (?),  the water dripping off Jesus' head, and the spider?
What do you do when you're told to flee to Egypt because the King wants to kill you?  You go sightseeing--see the Holy Family staring in awe at the pyramid... at night?  Why at night?  Well, read the account in the Bible. It says, "Joseph took Jesus and Mary by night..."
Okay... one more for now... which one, which one?  Hmmm....

Psalm 23, "He restoreth my soul,"  interpreted as, "Get back here, you idiot. I'm trying  to help you." 
 I'm going to add more to this post later... because I have a few more gems I've just got to share... so please come back to check!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Snow Day! Sew Day!

Yesterday, my rock-star cousin took me shopping at the fabric store to pick fabric and satin ribbon to make some new blankets for Baby Millie.

She picked the first print (kittens on bikes) within seconds. I had a serious hypoglycemic attack (I have NEVER mastered the skill of eating properly when pregnant... because when I'm not pregnant I work so hard to eat less!), so while I had to make a quick run to the front of the store and inhale a Coke and a Milky Way just so I could stay on my feet, she and my daughter had nearly everything picked out! Four super-cute brushed flannel patterns, with coordinating satin ribbon for edging.

So today... I declared a snow day.  You see, while the public school children in our area accumulated 14 snow days over the past two months (thanks to this LOVELY winter we've all had!), we got more school done than ever--and are way ahead.

I told the boys they could play LEGO Battle all morning, and then maybe ride bikes and scooters this afternoon (60 degrees!), and I hauled out the sewing machine to enjoy, finally, after 15 years, some girl-flavored sewing.  And in four blissful, fun, uninterrupted hours, I had completed six amazing blankets!

First, I must introduce you to my sewing quality control department.  He literally "tested" each blanket while it was rolling off the machine. He's got a special technique for rubbing the satin on the tip of his nose to test how "smooth" it is--so he's completely qualified.

"Cool!"  "Awesome!"  he declared!

They're all super-soft brushed cotton flannel with satin ribbon edging. Oversized (42 in square).  The white one on the bottom right is actually fleece, though.

I'm CRAZY about this soft gray flannel print with pale pink satin edging!
The floral satin ribbon on this one is just so fun!

My friend sent me this outfit--and it's colors match EXACTLY with this adorable kitten/bird print!

I got this piece of fluffy, snow-white fleece from a friend, and added this awesome rainbow edging!
This coral/pink zig-zag flannel is the bomb!  Love how it matches this little Carter's set with coral-colored flowers!

31 Weeks and counting until our little Millie is here!  Oh, I can't hardly wait to see what our GIRL is going to look like!  My little boys are now 2, 4, 6, and 8--and they all look completely different from each other!

One week later... and I added her name to this new diaper bag this morning (pre-embroidered iron-on letters), but check out this cheetah print lining! (below).  All packed and ready to go! 8 weeks left!

My 2yo looks at me like I'm crazy when I talk about this baby he can't see.  :-)

What have you been making lately?  Anything fun?  Leave me a link! I'd love to see it!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Thanks for the Prayers

I know some of y'all are praying for me, and I'm so thankful.

Let me tell you, the prayers are working. 

I have had amazing grace upon me--able to cope yesterday and today in a way I just couldn't explain.  Peace, joy, and smiles were abundant--and it was the blessing of the Spirit upon me, thanks to your prayers, I know. It was NOT of me.

And... I'm starting to feel better.  Just enough that a little light is shining in my dark valley--but OH, that's enough.  God is merciful.

And... I already listed all the other blessings that have been poured upon me the past week.

This is one of the reasons  I keep blogging--because of you, my sisters in the Lord, one in the body of Christ, who pray for me, and I for you, and we exhort and encourage each other.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

I am blessed.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

WHY Do I Have Pneumonia, AGAIN? (Here's why...)

I don't know.  But I do have more to the answer than that... so keep reading.

Oh, it's hard. I can pray the Psalms from the pit of despair with all true feeling these days... and more.  Let's see now... this makes four straight years of chronic illness for me, throw in two pregnancies. I'll spare you the details of the hospital stays with surgeries, ICU, chemo, blood transfusions, ports, medications, pain med addiction, wheelchairs...

But it's hard.

I had a true Davidic meltdown the other day.  I outdid David, actually, in begging for God for mercy and help. Healing! Please. Please. Please. Please. Pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleaseplease....

Really... why isn't one of the Psalms simply that?  Please! Please. Please. Please. Please. Please.(I guess that's why I wasn't chosen to write any of the Psalms.)

It works for my kids sometimes.

And am I better?

No.  Worse.

BUT... God was not silent..

First of all, He blessed me immediately with several hours of comfortable, cough-and-pain-free, restful sleep. That was a miracle. That doesn't happen with pneumonia.  I would have "gone down into the grave" without that little respite.

But I woke up the next morning sick as ever. Sicker. And still asking WHY? and Please? Please? PLEASE?

God? What glory do you get from my being sick? What benefit is there to You? My family?

And He answered in my heart:  "Everything benefits me. Everything is for My glory."

And that is exactly what I tell my children... when they get sick, or hurt, or stung by a bee, or wonder why the kitten died:

"God loves us.  God is always helping us. God is always teaching us. God is always leading us. God has a perfect plan and He knows the way.  God will give us the strength we need for everything He leads us through."

And God did answer my desperate begging. My broken heart moved Him.  He loves the sacrifice of a broken heart.

How did He answer?

First of all, a paycheck (due to certain circumstances, the paychecks have been uncertain and sporadic lately). Enough to write a menu for five weeks and stock my empty pantry.

God says, "I hear you. I am providing for you."

See that bin on the bottom left?  It usually holds all my dry beans. It was empty.  Today, I got the mail, and there was a HEAVY box containing all these organic dry beans, sent by my mom, packed in and around a pair of boots for my 8yo--which was the only pair of shoes we needed.  God says, "I hear you. I am providing for you."

One thing I know is good for pneumonia is grapefruit.  Eat them, and put the peels in your hot tea.  It is a wonderful expectorant and combats "phlegm" in the body.  A look in our local small-town grocery store didn't have any grapefruit worth buying... but that was okay.  It was Monday, and on Tuesday night my daughter had choir practice in Columbus.  My husband was going to go to Costco and get a case of grapefruit.  But then Tuesday rolls around, with a winter storm, and choir practice is cancelled.  Oh well... no grapefruit.  But wait! The  phone rang. It was my father. He was driving  back from Columbus, and had a case of grapefruit and a case of oranges for us... his wife's mother had ordered them from a freight truck from Florida--the best citrus you can get.

God said, "I hear you. I am providing for you."

This is just a portion of what my father brought us.
Then the mail.... OH! The MAIL this week!  A $500 check from a choir-loving relative as a gift towards our daughter's trip to Spain to tour with her choir (she will get to sing with the Vienna Boys' Choir).  Arriving one day after we had to make a painfully big payment towards her trip.

God said, "I hear you. I am providing for you."

And the school supplies we ordered (thanks to the finally-here paycheck) arrived one day early. You know my kids and their artwork. Our colored pencils had been sharpened down to nubs, and we use a certain brand that blend nicely.  What a blessing to refill.  My children's artwork, as those of you who read my blog know very well, is a continual source of blessing, joy, and grace to me.

God said, "I hear you. I am providing for you."

And, as an Amazon "add-on" item, we were able to get this authentic box of "Turkish Delight" to complement our current read-aloud of The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe..  It's imported from Turkey, and it matches what it looks like Edmund eats in the Disney version of the movie--and reviewers called it "authentic."  Oh... what a fun treat and little educational experience for my boys!

God says, "I hear you. I am providing for you."

And an email arrived from Amazon awarding me a $10 gift card for completing a survey for them. I was able to get this (saw it here on Elizabeth's blog). Oh... it's wonderful, and a perfect addition to Devotions with my littles, which is the central part of our schoolwork every day. And such beautiful artwork... I know it will inspire some lovely pictures.

Did you catch that I got this for free?  God said, "I hear you. I am providing for you."

And a big packet arrived in the mail from old, dear friends we haven't seen in 12 years.  And when I opened it?  This... the most adorable new outfits for our new baby girl arriving in April, in the perfect sizes and types for the seasons. And so unbelievably cute!

God says, "I hear you. I am providing for you."

And then, a box showed up on my porch from  I didn't order anything. I didn't want my husband to think I had ordered anything behind his back.  What the heck?  Nothing more than a thoughtful gift from a friend, that encouraged me in a very specific and special way.

God says, " I HEAR YOU, I am providing for you."

So. Why do I have pneumonia?

For God's glory. For the benefit of His perfect plan that is always in the works, even if I don't understand.  Just like when my 4yo doesn't understand why he has to take the yucky medicine. Or take a nap. Or NOT play the Wii for more than 30 minutes.

Why do I have pneumonia, for the fourth time since June (while I'm OLD and weak from illness, AND 6 months pregnant, might I add?)?

So God could remind me that He IS my shepherd. He hears my cries. He leads me. He provides. He knows what it best.

I will let His rod and staff comfort me.  Where He leads, in faith, I will follow.  Like a sheep, I have learned I am too stupid to go anywhere on my own! The sheep doesn't know the rocky path is what leads to water! The Shepherd knows.

I have pneumonia... but He is here. Hearing me. Comforting me. Providing for me. Loving me.  Leading me. Green pastures. Still waters. A restored soul.  This earth is my pilgrimmage through the valley of the shadow of death... but I will fear no evil.

And one day,

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.
--Lady Julian of Norwich

One day, the green pastures and still waters will be my permanent resting place. I'm on my way!